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Sunday, 09 July 2023 16:48

Ocaso Strategy

Written by

Ocaso Knives was founded in 2022 by Ric Valdez, the former Executive Vice President of Cold Steel. Valdez has over 20 years of experience in the knife industry, including time spent collecting knives and gentleman's accessories. He started Ocaso with the goal of creating high-quality production knives that can be used in the office or outdoors.
Valdez's belief that the knife you choose to carry every day defines the essence of who you are and what you believe in led him to start Ocaso.

Ocaso (oh-kah-soh) means “sunset” in Spanish. Ocaso is based in the Ojai Valley in Southern California, in an area that is legendary for “pink moments,” a period just before sunset when the mountain ranges framing the valley take on a brief pink glow.

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The Strategy is a collaboration with Mike Wallace of Cold Steel fame. His designs are known to be functional, ergonomic and built to last. With the Strategy they wanted a design that was lightweight, durable, compact, and comfortable enough to be carried into the office or ready for off-grid adventures. The model comes in an assortment of handle materials including G-10 milled scales, peel-ply Carbon Fiber/G-10, or aircraft-grade aluminum.

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The Strategy has an overall length of 7.75 inches, a blade length of 3.5 inches, and a handle length of 4.25 inches. Those dimensions speak of a knife that should fill your hand nicely, and have a blade long enough for everyday tasks, let's check it out.

The handle is super comfortable and the G10 is rounded nicely in all the right places. The chamfered edges are smooth while the flats retain the texture of the material. I find the G10 not too aggressive, and it have a nice feel to it, isn't abrasive like some can be. Until this knife I've never seen or handled jade G10 before and its quite beautiful. I love the fact that every finger has a groove to rest in, I'm just as comfortable with a totally straight handle but one that's properly contoured is quite nice. The knife lacks jimping in all the usual places, being somewhat classy I don't think it needs any.

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The 3.5-inch blade is made from German K110 (D2) steel. K110 is Bohler's blend of D2 steel, it has a slightly different makeup than regular D2 but not enough to make a difference. D2 has been a popular choice for knife companies for a while due to its good edge retention and toughness. Ocaso went with a clip point style blade on the Strategy, it has a nice 3/4 flat grind, and a nice tip for piercing. Deploying the blade is done via a flipper tab, it's straight and doesn't feature any additional texture. Deployment is smooth thanks to the caged bearings, they're not ceramic like a lot of folks are using but operation is really smooth. When releasing the liner lock, it takes a little shake to get it to close rather than those that close under their own weight.

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Cutting performance is decent, the blade profile and grind were suited to things I do on a daily basis. Prepping for supper, opening the mail and other items didn't prove to be an issue. Trying to use the knife to cut through cardboard did prove to be more of a push than expected. At first, I thought maybe it was the PVD coating on the blade but switching to the satin finished model I experience the same resistance when pushing through. Using another knife, I had on me that had the same steel and handle materials, I didn't have the same issues. The issue I experienced might be due to the grind on the blade not really being designed to push through a medium like cardboard.

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A defining feature for the Strategy is their signature fold-over ambidextrous deep carry clip. The clip is really neat because it isn't screwed into the G10 on the same side as the clip, it's folded over and anchored on the other side. This design is ingenious because it gives it a clean appearance. Due to the fold over nature, this clip is super deep carry. The G10 gives enough texture between the clip and your pants to keep things where they should be. Retrieval does require a bit of a pull, that same texture makes it a firm pull depending on the material and thickness of your pocket.

Mike Wallace has designed such a beautiful knife that's at home either on the job or in a formal setting. I found the Strategy a joy to use and look forward to what other collaborations Ocaso produces. Ocaso Knives is a baby in the industry and it's going to be exciting to watch them grow.

David Bowen

As Co Founder of Multitool.org David has been a multitool enthusaist since the 90's.  David has always been fascinated with the design inginuity and uselfulness of multitools.

David is always looking forward to what's new in the industry and how the humble multitool continues to evolve as it radically changes and improves the lives of users.

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